MJ Rose is always a must-read blog for book publicity education but today is a must-read post anyone who is ever thinking about how to get their books into the hands of bloggers.
Sigh. First canned queries to agents and editors and now this.
So when Cynthia Lord knew her galleys were coming for book Rules she got the bright idea to hold a little contest to see when they would arrive and offered to send a copy of the galleys to the winner. I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of a unique contest of my own for the galleys but no such luck. I decided that if you’re going to copy, why not copy from the best? With credit to cynthialord I hereby launch the official Hugging the Rock “When Will They Get Here” galleys contest. My publicist said they have been ordered and will be at the publisher on Friday. This Friday. Then mine will be shipped to me. Note: Both my publisher and I are on the same coast.
By my reckoning I should have them by the end of March so here are the ten arrival date options:
3/19, 3/20, 3/21, 3/22, 3/23, 3/27, 3/28, 3/29, 3/30, 3/31 Pick one and win!
And another plug for you to sign up for my newsletter (just in case you forget to read my blog.) The first issue will go out shortly and, if you’re a subscriber, there will be another contest in the newsletter to win a copy of the published book.
Getting early attention for your book is really important but I think it’s also hard for many writers to do because so many of us, (like ME) are introverts. I have a hard time jumping up and down and asking people to look at my book, read my book, review my book. But I truly believe that Hugging the Rock is the best thing I have written yet and if it takes me going out on the limb to the uncomfy zone to talk about it, I will. So that brings me to the topic of blurbs. My publisher mentioned it was time to start thinking about blurbs. Blurbs are endorsements, bits of praise, the appear on the cover (back or sometimes front). Actually they’re used in all sorts of promotional efforts.
Usually they’re by someone famous but my publisher said they use blurbs from regular readers, reviewers, librarians, etc for all sorts of things. But asking people to read for the purpose of blurbing is hard. First off, just because you like a person doesn’t mean you will (or have to) like their book. But some people don’t understand that. Some people think that if you hate their book you hate them. And some people are afraid to be asked to blurb for one person because then they’ll feel like they are fair game for everyone else to ask. So it’s a decidely awkward place to be. I’ll just say this, if you read a copy of the book, in galley or final form, and you want to comment on it, good, bad, or whatever, you can send to me, but you can also send to any comments to Laura at the email above.
Hugging the Rock is a journey of the heart that does make many people cry, but it is a hopeful journey that portrays a relationship not often seen in children’s books, a positive relationship between a girl and her father. In writing this book I gave myself the father I’ve never known.
Progress – not much. I’m coming down with a cold so I know that means lots of fluids and naps and the only thing I will do when I have the energy is work on the revisions for Hugging the Rock.
I am very frustrated because all the progress I made last week in mailing out review books and press kits for Oliver is probably going to have to be done all over again because I was a ditz. Monday I mailed all the packets, priority mail no less, but forgot that anything over a pound had to be taken inside the Post Office (hey, at 6am on the way to work I’m doing good to remember the way TO the Post Office.) So I dumped 17 packets into the mail drop which, of course, will not be delivered because they could be a threat. The Post Office sent two back the next day but 15 have gone missing. The priority mail postage is bad enough but there goes 15 copies of Oliver out in the netherlands. Sigh. Perhaps someone will read it in the confiscated items room at Post Office central and fall in love with Oliver. I’d like to think the rest of the packages will find their way back to me but I’m thinking that’s probably not too likely. Oh well. Note to self – from now on do all mailing AFTER work when I am more awake.
One royalty check arrived today. It wasn’t much but considering that I thought the books were going OP, I’m happy. It will help replace the Oliver books I’ve lost. Time to take some Airborne and some brandy and crawl into bed.
PS – my LJ rich text editor has suddenly stopped working. Worked fine yesterday. Same browser. Same Java. Anyone else having that problem? Okay, and now when I clicked to update my journal it didn’t update but it moved me into the rich text mode. Something funky going on here.
Last night I attended a meeting of the Northern California Children’s Bookseller’s Association (a division of NCIBA). There was some frustration expressed, rightly so, from some of the booksellers. Some writers send bookstores info about their books and push the bookseller to promote the books but when the bookseller visits the author website, there is no mention anywhere of independent bookstores. No mention of the wonderful BOOKSENSE program which allows people to shop online, just like Amazon, but with Booksense the sales go through your local bookseller. Instead, said one bookseller, all she found were links to Amazon. She said she didn’t expect authors to only push the independents, but to at least have a link to Booksense right there next to Amazon. (for those who don’t know, Booksense also has an affiliate program.)
I asked some questions about what authors, authors who weren’t big name draws, could do to improve their relationships with the independent booksellers. They stressed the importance of keeping the bookstores informed of where authors are speaking so they will have books on the shelf. You’d think it would be a common thing for authors to do but evidently that’s not the case and booksellers aren’t mind readers. Shelf space is a premium and independent booksellers are working hard, long hours trying to stay afloat. Many booksellers had similar stories to share about being surprised when some popular books not only weren’t on the shelf but hadn’t been ordered for a while. Things fall through the cracks. To make sure it doesn’t happen to you don’t assume that your book will be in stock the week of your big event, keep the bookstore informed. One member suggested authors keep a list of who should be updated and every month send them a copy of their calendar.
One great thing our local NCCBA group has done in the past years is to develop the WIN guide, for the writer and illustrators network. For a small fee writers and illustrators can get one page in the guide that tells about themselves, their books and their availability to speak. The WIN guide is sold at independents throughout the region. The NCCBA also hosts, twice a year, a reception where they invite the media people and librarians from local schools to come mix and mingle with local authors. I’d love to hear about sorts of things other authors are doing to build relationships and gain exposure with, for and through the local interdependent booksellers.
This has been one of those weeks where, if I don’t count the time I spent at the dayjob, I’ve been immersed in all sorts of writing business/publicity stuff. I love it. Sometimes doing all the promotional stuff makes me feel more like a “real writer” than the writing does. I suppose one day I could get organized and not have a bunch of stuff that needs doing all at once but hey, where’s the fun in that? I would love to have some sort of PR brainstorming group that we could all share ideas and help each other when there was something new they were trying to promote. In the absence of that, I’ll ask a few questions.
What’s the best thing you have done to promote your book? What have you done out of the ordinary, other than mailing postcards, creating bookmarks, updating your brochure? What have you done that you won’t do again?
For my last picture book, CAN I PRAY WITH MY EYES OPEN? I wrote an article called 10 Things Your Child Should Know About Prayer. I sent it out to various newspapers as a press release type of article, all ready to drop into place in the newspaper. It worked and the article not only got a lot of coverage but I got some newspaper interviews as a result. Later I posted the article on my website and offered it to be reprinted for free. The book came out in 1999 but I still get letters every few months about some place that is reprinting the article. For OLIVER’S MUST-DO LIST I created Oliver to travel to schools and his blog to report his adventures. Only time will tell if this is a hit or not.
Writing progress: I saw Frankie the other night. I don’t think he meant to let me see him and I’m sure he didn’t mean to let me look right into his eyes, but I did, for a few seconds. What I saw nearly broke my heart. I tried to ask him about his sister but he ran away. Max is still with him, trying to keep Frankie safe and offering love in the way that only a dog can do. This poor kid needs a champion but he still seems to be so alone.